Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Our Journey to Homeschooling

     Our oldest child was in her second year of preschool when I first began entertaining the idea of homeschooling.  My heart was leaping at the possibility of embarking on this radical journey.  I began presenting all my pros of homeschooling to my husband (totally downplaying the cons), trying desperately to win him over.  He entertained my litany of lists for awhile before finally confessing to me that in theory it was a good idea, but it just wasn't for us.  He continued, saying, "I just don't think YOU can handle it."  Ouch. Okay, what I really mean is, "OOOOUUUUUCH!"  My degrees are in early childhood and elementary education.  I was so embarrassed.  My own husband did not think I could teach our child.  My homeschool push was officially over.  I shed a few tears and buried my homeschool dreams.  My husband chose a fantastic local school and we promptly enrolled. 

   Kindergarten drop off definitely makes my top ten list of hardest days of my life.  I was eight months pregnant dropping off my firstborn child in a new school where we knew no one (we enrolled in a closer parish school, not our own).  To top it all off the day before school started she had been diagnosed with allergies to corn and eggs in addition to her previous diagnosis of celiac disease.  If you have ever dealt with food allergies you know it takes weeks to figure out a base of safe foods for your child to eat.  I was in a complete state of panic leaving her there with perfect strangers in charge of feeding her.  I dropped her off and headed straight to the Adoration Chapel to bawl.  I returned at the end of the day to pick up my tired, but smiling girl.  She loved it, and no one messed up her food!  Drop off became much easier and even I eventually adjusted to the routine.

     We loved our daughter's school and homeschooling became a vague memory of something that I thought was great, but could not do.  It no longer existed in my mind as an option for our family, and I was pretty comfortable with our life in school.  However, God had different plans.  He always does, and my happy little comfortable world was about to change.

    Halfway through our daughter's first grade year, the school system began sharing a possible model for a tuition change.  God knows exactly what will get our attention, and now He had successfully gathered the attention of my husband.  The change being discussed would have been a very expensive change for our family, and one evening my husband came home from work announcing that he did not know what we would do if this option was chosen.  I was shocked.  I loved her school and could not imagine having to leave.  I didn't say anything, but prayed.  As I was praying, God placed a word on my heart, that I had not allowed for two years...homeschool.  Homeschool?!!!!  Are you kidding me, God?  I was a little miffed.  I argued with God in my head.  My mind voice, remembering my humiliation after our last homeschool discussion, shouted, "Okay, God.  If YOU want us to homeschool, YOU tell him, but I am not going to!"  

     THE VERY NEXT DAY my husband came home from work and presented me with three options.  The first of the options was homeschool.  I broke into tears.  I was REALLY comfortable with what we were already doing and I was REALLY NOT looking forward to getting my hopes up again for something that was not going to happen.  We spent the next few months researching, and this time I let my husband lead the way.  He researched the pros and cons, he looked at the different options for curricula, and he was left to make the final decision.  By the time he announced that we would be homeschooling, the proposed tuition change was no longer even on the table.  Staying in the school would no longer have been a financial burden, but we now knew God was calling us to something different.  

     We began homeschooling the next August and now have three years under our belts.  In general it seems to fit our family well.  There are definitely challenges, and this year in particular, summer break couldn't come soon enough, but in the end we feel like it is worth it.  I am now very thankful that we did not originally homeschool.  I cannot stress enough the importance of having the support of my husband.  There are days when I want to throw in the towel and quit, and on those days, it is he who encourages me and reminds me of all we are accomplishing.  I would not have had this support if I had succeeded in pushing him into homeschooling as I had originally tried.  In addition, and more importantly, God made it perfectly clear to me that this was His will for our family.  He could not have been more clear, or prompt, in responding to my snarky challenge to "tell him yourself if you want us to homeschool."  So, for now, we are here, homeschooling.  We intend to do this all the way through.  However, I always say we are taking it year by year, because as we have learned, you never know what plans God has up His sleeve!!!

The moral of the story:  When making any big decision, first and foremost, seek the will of God, and don't be afraid to ask Him to show you the way (sometimes He does so, very clearly)!!!  Secondly, talk with your husband, pray with your husband, and then step back and allow him to make the final decision.  I have found an indescribable peace in making decisions in this way.  You will not always get what you want using this formula, but you will have peace in knowing that even when you don't understand it, God's plan is always what is best, and you can trust that He is guiding your husband in his decision making process (assuming your husband is consulting with Him)!



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